Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast – Which town makes the best home base?

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Ah, the Amalfi Coast! Italy’s slice of paradise, with its jaw-dropping cliffs, sparkling blue waters, and food that’ll have you dreaming about it for days.

It’s no wonder this spot is a top pick for travelers looking for a mix of beauty, adventure, and culinary delights. But with so many beautiful towns to choose from – where should you stay?

view of the Amalfi Coast from the Path of the Gods

If it’s your first time planning a trip to this gorgeous coastline, figuring out where to bunk down can feel a bit like solving a puzzle.

There’s a lot to think about: Which town to make your home base? How will you get around? What’s the best season to visit? Should you aim for a cliffside hotel with sweeping views or something closer to the water? And most importantly, what do you want to see and do while you’re here?

I’ve put together this guide to help you sort it all out. Inside, you’ll find the scoop on the best towns to stay in along the Amalfi Coast, each with its own pros and cons, plus some handy tips to make sure you pick the perfect home base for your trip.

P.S. I know this guide is long! But I wanted you to have all the info I wished I had when I was planning my own trip to the Amalfi Coast!

Maps of Amalfi Coast – Region & Towns

Before we can get into a discussion of the best Amalfi Coast towns to stay in, we need to get a lay of the land. So I’ve made you a couple quick maps to show where these cities are located in relation to one another.

Click the map above to enlarge it!

First, take a look at the zoomed out map of the entire region (above). Most visitors reach the Amalfi Coast either by flying or taking a high speed train into the city of Naples. From there, you can take a car service, ferry, or local train to Sorrento. And from Sorrento, you can reach any of the towns along the Amalfi Coast by ferry or car service.

So most visitors are at least passing through Naples and Sorrento on their way into the region. If you plan to visit Mt. Vesuvius or Pompeii during your trip, it’s easiest to visit these attractions from one of those towns before making your way to the Amalfi Coast proper.

map of amalfi coast towns
Click map above to enlarge.

Next, let’s take a look at a more zoomed in map of the Amalfi Coast (above), including Sorrento and Capri. You can choose to make one of these towns your home base for your whole trip – or choose to move around between a few.

We personally chose to stay in Sorrento and Amalfi on our own trip. The first gave us easy access to Capri and Pompeii. And the second made it easy to explore the remainder of the Amalfi coastline.

To give you an idea of distances, here are some estimated driving and ferry times between the major cities:

  • Sorrento to Positano: 45 minutes by car, 30 minutes by ferry
  • Sorrento to Amalfi: 75 minutes by car, 60 minutes by ferry
  • Positano to Amalfi: 45 minutes by car, 20 minutes by ferry

Note that the time via car can vary quite a lot based on traffic – and traffic is intense during the summer high season.

And the ferry times can vary depending on the type of vessel, so always check the schedules and choose a high speed ferry when possible.

Ok, now that we have the lay of the land, let’s talk about these towns in more detail!


view from the balcony in our room at Imperial Hotel Tramontano

Pros of staying in Sorrento:

  • Beautiful waterfront.
  • Many shopping and dining options.
  • Hotels at all price points.
  • Easy connections to other towns via ferry and train.
  • Closest to Pompeii and Capri.
  • Flat – no stairs!

Cons of staying in Sorrento:

  • Lacks the iconic Amalfi Coast views.
  • Further to visit towns like Positano and Amalfi.

Sorrento isn’t exactly on the Amalfi Coast, sitting instead on the Sorrentine Coast facing the Gulf of Naples. But this city is a gem worth considering.

This is especially true if you have very limited time in the region and don’t want the hassle of switching hotels during your stay. In fact, if you are planning to stay in just one single location, Sorrento is probably your best bet because it is a transportation hub that is very well connected to the rest of the region.

Want to zip over to Naples, join a day trip to Positano, catch a ferry to Capri, or hop on a bus to start the famous Path of Gods hike? You can organize all of that from Sorrento. Plus, it’s tour central, offering loads of organized trips to all the sights on the coast.

And let’s talk eats and sleeps. Sorrento is packed with awesome restaurants, where you can dig in without the Amalfi Coast price tag.

Accommodations? You’re getting more bang for your buck here, with nicer hotels for less than you’d shell out in Amalfi or Positano.

But okay, it’s not all sunshine and lemon groves. If your heart’s set on waking up to those iconic Amalfi Coast views, Sorrento can’t offer you that, although it is a very pretty town in its own right.

And it is a long trek from Sorrento to the main villages of Positano and Amalfi – you’ll need to plan day trips to explore those cities. It is however, the most convenient home base for visiting the historical sites of Pompeii and for day tripping to the island of Capri.

In a nutshell, Sorrento’s a solid pick for those who want to explore far and wide, offering a mix of convenience, good vibes, and a touch of adventure. Just be ready for a bit of legwork if you’re venturing to the Amalfi Coast proper.

couple walking down the street in downtown sorrento

Best Things to Do in Sorrento:

Best Places to Stay in Sorrento:


view of Positano town that I took while swimming in the ocean

Pros of staying in Positano:

  • Beautiful scenic views.
  • Excellent shopping and dining.
  • Easy ferry access.
  • Central location for easy sightseeing.

Cons of staying in Positano:

  • Very crowded in high season.
  • Most expensive lodging and dining.
  • So many stairs.

Positano is the quintessential Amalfi Coast town, and the one you’ve likely seen pictured in all those travel magazines. It’s inarguably the most famous town on the coastline – and it has a price tag that goes along with it.

The vibe in Positano? Lively, with a capital L. Here you’ll find a bustling town full of restaurants, shops, and plenty of nightlife. It’s a place to see and be seen. Spend your days lounging at one of the high end beach clubs and your nights dining at Michelin starred restaurants and partying into the wee hours.

Positano makes a wonderful home base for people who want to be right in the middle of all the hub bub. It’s well connected to all of the other Amalfi coast towns via the ferry system, so you can easily hop around to check out the rest of the coastline.

But there are a few downsides to Positano as well. It’s a major tourist destination, which attracts hordes of day trippers and cruise ship passengers in addition to the many folks staying there in town.

This means it can be very crowded in the daytime hours, until all the day tourists return to their home bases. It’s a place to go to be in the midst of the action, not to get away from it all. You should expect to need reservations for everything from beach chairs to restaurants in the summer season.

Next, is the price tag. There is no shortage of luxurious hotels and villas on offer in Positano, but they come at a steep price. It’s by far the most expensive place to stay on the Amalfi Coast. Modest accommodations here are often just as expensive as luxury hotels in some of the other coastal towns.

And finally – the stairs. Oh my gosh, the stairs. Positano is very literally built into the side of a cliff, and that means you will be doing some serious hiking up and down the steep staircases to get anywhere within the town. This can make it a tricky destination for anyone with mobility concerns or families with young kids.

my husband and son walking down the street in Positano

Best Things to Do in Positano:

Best Places to Stay in Positano

Amalfi Town

Beautiful view of the town of Amalfi in Italy

Pros of staying in Amalfi:

  • Beach access.
  • More affordable accommodations.
  • Easy ferry access for sightseeing the coast.
  • Easy access to visit Ravello, Atrani, Maori/Minori.

Cons of staying in Amalfi:

  • Further to reach Capri and Sorrento.
  • Less picturesque than Positano.
  • Less dining and shopping options than Positano.

If you’re seeking a spot that’s vibrant and conveniently located, but a bit quieter and more affordable than Positano, Amalfi town might just be the perfect home base for you.

Thinking of tackling the famous Path of Gods hike? It’s easily tackled from Amalfi. And the scenic town of Ravello is just a short bus ride or taxi away. Plus, Amalfi’s harbor offers excellent ferry connections to all the major towns along the coast, so it’s a great home base for exploring the whole coastline.

Amalfi has its own beach, although not as big or fancy as the beaches in Positano. And you’ll find some fun attractions in town like a local lemon farm and the historic paper mill and museum. Plus, just a short 15 minute stroll away, you can reach the quaint town of Atrani, with its own quiet stretch of beachfront.

Amalfi is also relatively flat, especially in the town center, sparing you the daunting staircases typical in the cliffside towns. This makes it an excellent choice for families with children (especially kids in strollers) and anyone with mobility concerns.

Budget-conscious travelers will find Amalfi particularly appealing. The town offers a broad selection of accommodations, including some nice options in the lower to mid-range bracket, making it easier to stretch your dollars further here than in pricier Positano.

We found that we could afford a nice waterfront hotel in Amalfi for less than the cost of mid-range hotels in Positano.

Yet, it’s still not a serene hideaway. Amalfi is still a main tourist destination and that means it often buzzes with tour groups during peak hours. It does tend to be quieter in the evening when the day trippers have left.

Additionally, its position is great for sightseeing along the coast, but puts you quite a bit further from attractions like Capri, Sorrento, or Pompeii, requiring more travel time for those excursions.

Amalfi is a great pragmatic choice for travelers seeking a balance between exploring the area’s beauty and keeping travel logistics smooth and costs reasonable. We opted to stay in Amalfi for four nights on our own family vacation to the Amalfi Coast.

the cathedral in the town of Aalfi

Best Things to Do in Amalfi Town

Best Places to Stay in Amalfi Town


view of Amalfi Coast from Ravello

Pros of staying in Ravello:

  • Incredible views of the coastline.
  • Beautiful villas to tour.
  • Some great dining and hotels.
  • Less crowds.
  • Most romantic spot on Amalfi Coast!

Cons of staying in Ravello:

  • No beach access.
  • No ferry access.
  • More difficult to reach other towns.

Perched atop the cliffs, Ravello offers breathtaking panoramic views that easily make it a must-visit spot on the Amalfi Coast.

Its reputation as one of the most romantic destinations in the area isn’t just talk – Ravello just feels magical.

Despite its popularity among tourists, Ravello retains a unique charm. The town itself is relatively small and, surprisingly, quite level once you’re in the heart of it. This makes wandering its streets and soaking in the ambiance all the more enjoyable.

And when the crowds dissipate in the evening, Ravello transforms into a tranquil retreat, allowing those who stay overnight to experience its beauty in a more intimate setting.

However, Ravello’s charm comes with one big downside. Its secluded position high in the hills means that getting to and from the beach or other towns along the Amalfi Coast is a bit of a journey, usually requiring a bus or taxi ride down to Amalfi.

This makes Ravello less ideal for those who prioritize convenience in their sightseeing plans.

Yet, for travelers seeking an authentic slice of Amalfi Coast life and traditional charm, Ravello stands out as a top choice. Its majestic views and distance from the hustle and bustle of the more tourist-heavy towns offers a truly unique experience.

For those willing to trade a little accessibility for a lot of enchantment, Ravello promises a stay that’s hard to forget.

Villa Cimbrone in Ravello

Best Things to Do in Ravello:

Best Places to Stay in Ravello:


view of Atrani, taken from Amalfi

Pros of staying in Atrani:

  • Quaint, small town feel.
  • Quiet beach.
  • Ferry access via Maori.
  • Few crowds.
  • Less expensive.
  • Flat – no steps!

Cons of staying in Atrani:

  • No ferry access (must walk to Amalfi).
  • Few hotel, shopping, and dining options.

Atrani is a very tiny town, which sits just a 15 minute walk from the town of Amalfi. You won’t find all that much here, frankly, as it doesn’t draw too many tourists. But there are several good and very affordable options for lodging here.

There is also a very quiet beach, which will almost never be crowded, even in high season.

There is no ferry access to Atrani – you will have to take the walk into neighboring Amalfi town to use the ferry. And most organized tours will also leave from Amalfi. So that does it make less convenient for exploring other towns on the coast.

While the quieter atmosphere is great for families, I actually wouldn’t recommend Atrani for a stay with small kids for one reason. You will need to walk into Amalfi frequently to access the ferry and other services there. And while the walk is not very far, much of it is on a busy road with very little shoulder and a lot of traffic.

We walked it on our own recent trip, and it felt dangerous with my eight year old. I wouldn’t be comfortable doing it with younger kids or a stroller. So I personally think Atrani is a better option for couples or families with older teens who want a quieter stay.

The main draw for people staying in Atrani is the quiet atmosphere and affordable price tag – which comes with a little less convenience than the neighboring Amalfi town. It’s also a great choice if you want a nice quiet spot for an extended stay.

Best Things to Do in Atrani:

  • Relax on the quiet beach.
  • Walk to Amalfi Town and the attractions there like the lemon tour and paper museum.
  • Explore Ravello. Take a taxi to town and then hike back down the 1.2 mile cliffside path to Atrani.

Best Places to Stay in Atrani:

Minori and Maiori

beach in the town of Maiori

Pros of staying in Maiori and Minori:

  • Quaint, small town feel.
  • Quiet beach.
  • Ferry access from Maiori.
  • Few crowds.
  • Less expensive.
  • Flat – no steps!

Cons of staying in Maiori and Minori:

  • Ferry access more limited.
  • Further travel to reach other towns.
  • Less hotel, shopping, and dining options.

The two towns of Maiori and Minori are so close together that we’ll talk about them as one here. And these little towns are truly hidden gems.

This area is much quieter and less tourist centric than the larger towns of Amalfi and Positano. It’s quaint and picturesque, with a small town feel.

It’s perhaps most well known for its Path of Lemons, a picturesque pathway that connects these two towns.

In general, you’ll find less options for lodging here but they will be less expensive than other towns along the coast.

There is a small beach here, which is rarely crowded. No need to make reservations at these beach clubs! And you’ll find plenty of restaurants, but none of the Michelin starred fine dining of Positano.

The town of Maiori (but not Minori) is connected to the other coastal towns via ferry, but you should expect the schedule to be less frequent here, and you may have to make a connection to reach some of the other ferry ports.

The towns are also on the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast, which means it can take longer to travel to other areas for sightseeing. It’s still relatively simple to connect to Amalfi, Positano, or even Capri. But it is a long haul to visit Sorrento or Pompeii from here.

Maiori and Minori are popular with families – in part because of the quieter atmosphere and lower price tag, but also because of the landscape. Both towns are relatively flat and easy to navigate with small kids and strollers.

Best Things to Do in Maiori and Minori:

Best Places to Stay in Maori and Minori:


aerial view of Praiano

Pros of staying in Praiano:

  • Secluded and private feel.
  • Few crowds.

Cons of staying in Praiano:

  • No ferry access.
  • Difficult to reach other towns from here.
  • Limited shopping and dining options.

Praiano is a very quiet, secluded waterfront town on the Amalfi Coast. The views here are stunning – just as beautiful as Positano, in my own opinion. But you won’t find any bustling crowds here. Just a small downtown area with a few restaurants and shops.

Praiano offer a mix of accommodations that generally have a lower price tag than neighboring Positano. But you can also find some stunning luxury resorts here.

The main drawback to Praiano is distance and connection to the other sights on the coast. There is no ferry stop in Praiano, so you will need to use taxis or private water taxis for much of your exploring. This can get inconvenient and expensive really quick.

So I personally find this to be a great destination for repeat Amalfi Coast visitors who want to relax and enjoy the views and sea, rather than visitors looking to do a lot of exploration.

For the same reasons, it’s also popular with honeymooners!

Best Things to Do in Praiano:

Best Places to Stay in Praiano:

Capri (and Anacapri)

view of Capri island from above

Pros of staying in Capri:

  • Amazing scenery.
  • Beautiful boating and snorkeling areas.
  • Vaca like the rich and famous!

Cons of staying in Capri:

  • Difficult to explore other towns from here.
  • Very expensive.
  • Very crowded.

Capri is not technically in the Amalfi Coast, as it’s an island all its own. But it is one of the most popular destinations for Amalfi Coast visitors, and people often wonder if it’s worth staying overnight here.

Capri is truly Italy’s playground for the rich and famous – even more so than Positano. It’s famous for it’s iconic rocky landscape, deep blue waters, and the Blue Grotto. And on land, you’ll find plenty of high end hotels, luxury shops, and fine dining.

The island is divided into two area – Capri and Anacapri. Capri is the main village above the marina, where ferry boats come into the island. This is where you’ll find the bulk of shopping and high end dining options. Anacapri is a smaller town on the other side of the island, which is famous for its chair lift to the top of Mt. Solaro.

Capri can be reached by ferry from the other ferry ports on the Amalfi Coast, with Sorrento being the closest port. You can also catch private boat tours from Amalfi, Positano, or Sorrento for a day trip to Capri.

If you are planning to explore the entirety of the Amalfi Coast, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use Capri as a home base, since leaving the island involves a long ferry ride each time.

But if you have plenty of time to spare, it’s totally worth staying for a night or two so you can explore everything the island and surrounding waters have to offer.

view of the faraglioni rocks from our boat

Best Things to Do in Capri:

Best Places to Stay in Capri:

FAQs: Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast?

And before I leave you to ponder your vacation, let’s cover a few of the questions I get most from readers.

Where are the best beaches on the Amalfi Coast?

If you are picturing wide, sandy beaches – you aren’t going to find them at all on the Amalfi Coast. That doesn’t exist here. The beaches in this region are covered in small rocks and pebbles, rather than sand. And many of the beach clubs are literally built on rocks jutting out into the water.

The water is beautiful though – and wonderful for swimming and snorkeling. But bring your water shoes because those rocks hurt. Positano and Capri are best known for their high end beach clubs, but the water is wonderful all over the coast.

Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast for first time visitors?

For first time visitors, I recommend Sorrento, Positano, or Amalfi as your home base. That’s because these towns are the best connected via the ferry system and will let you maximize your sightseeing around the region.

Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast for families with kids?

You will find that families and children are welcome just about everywhere, as is the culture throughout Italy. But Amalfi or Maiori/Minori make especially good home bases, thanks to their flatter landscape and quieter vibe.

Where are the best luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast?

While you can find super luxury hotels all up and down the coast, you’l find the most concentration of ultra-luxe hotels in Positano and Capri.

Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast on a budget?

It depends on how much of a budget. You will find that Amalfi offers some great options at a lower cost than Positano, without sacrificing much in convenience. But if you’re willing to stay in a smaller town, there are some downright bargains to be had in Atrani, Maiori, and Minori.

Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast for the easiest sightseeing?

Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi town are the easiest places to use as a home base for sightseeing in the whole region. Sorrento is an excellent base for visiting Capri, Pompeii, and Mt Vesuvius. Amalfi and Positano are excellent home bases for seeing all the towns up and down the Amalfi Coastline and the island of Capri.

Should I rent a car on the Amalfi Coast?

No. Just don’t do. Driving is very chaotic, the streets are incredibly narrow, there is tons of traffic. And even if you don’t mind driving, you will be hard pressed to find parking anywhere near your destination. And if you visit in the high season, you may be further subject to driving restrictions (alternating days by license plate number) that will limit your ability to use your rental car anyway.

How many days you need to visit the Amalfi Coast?

I recommend at least 3-4 full days to see all the highlights. That would give you a day to visit Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius, a day to visit the island of Capri, and 1-2 days to sightsee amongst the Amalfi Coast towns (Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello being the highlights). If you can stay longer, you will have a much more enjoyable trip. We recently stayed for 6 nights on our own Amalfi Coast vacation, and it was perfect for us.

Should I stay in Sorrento or on the Amalfi Coast?

The answer here really depends on how much time you have and what sights you want to prioritize. If your are more interested in Capri and the historical sites around Pompeii, you should make Sorrento your home base. If you are more interested in exploring the Amalfi Coast towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello – you should make one of those towns your home base for the trip. If you have more time, staying a few nights in each is a great choice.

Should I stay in one town or move around the Amalfi Coast?

Again, it depends how much time you have to visit. But if you have at least four nights, I think it’s worth choosing two places to stay. We recently took an Amalfi Coast trip and chose to split our time between Sorrento and Amalfi town. This worked out great for us. While in Sorrento, we were able to visit Pompeii and take a day trip to Capri. And then we moved on to Amalfi, where we explored the rest of the coast.

Can I visit Pompeii from the Amalfi Coast?

Yes! While you can find a tour to Pompeii from any of the major cities in the region, Sorrento is the closest and most convenient town for visiting Pompeii.

2 thoughts on “Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast – Which town makes the best home base?”

  1. These are awesome recommendations! Really well written. Will make our first trip there so much better to plan. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. If you have any good reco’s on private tour guides for Pompeii, let me know.


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